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France Calls For UN Action Against Syria

Antigovernment protesters clash with security forces in Hama on July 3.
France has called for UN action against Syria for its crackdown on protesters.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said the world could not stand by "inactive and powerless" in the face of "ferocious armed repression."

French efforts at the UN to condemn the regime of Bashar al-Assad have been resisted by Russia and China.

The French call comes after reports that 14 more people have been killed by Syrian forces in the central city of Hama.

Tanks are reported to still surround Hama, days after it witnessed some of the biggest protests against Assad's rule since the uprising erupted across the country in March.

Elsewhere, a leading opposition figure was reported to have been arrested in the eastern provincial capital of Deir al-Zor.

Ahmad Tuma is a former political prisoner and secretary-general of the Damascus Declaration, which was founded in 2005 to coordinate efforts to build a democracy in Syria.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International says Syrian forces may have committed crimes against humanity when they put down protests in Tel Kelakh in May.

Amnesty said scores of men were arbitrarily arrested and tortured, including people already wounded, in what it called a "devastating security operation."

The security crackdown in Tel Kelakh sparked thousands to flee in fear to Lebanon.

Amnesty International urged the United Nations to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court over the incident.

compiled from agency reports